Archive for 'people'

Business networking done the right way

The ability to network effectively can greatly increase the success of your business by getting your name out there in a positive way, building your credibility and assist in growing your customer base. Networking done poorly can seem pushy or overbearing but when done well it is a two-way street. Putting yourself out there can help you get to know someone better, find ways in which they might be able to assist you and how you can help them in return.

Know what you have to offer:
Networking can be especially hard if you aren’t aware of the unique skills you have to offer. Think about all of your accomplishments and assess what helped you to achieve them. These are all skills that other people may find valuable. Make it your goal to have an open and friendly approach when presenting yourself to new people and business opportunities.

Be yourself:
A big mistake people often make when networking is being inauthentic. If you are speaking with someone about a topic you don’t understand, avoid acting like you know everything just to keep up. Instead, ask questions and take the opportunity to learn from others. When the opportunity arises, talk about topics you are passionate about and interested in, not just topics you think people want to hear about.

Posted on 12 April '19 by , under people. No Comments.

How remote workers can improve your business

Remote work is becoming an increasingly popular choice for businesses. Thanks to the ease and accessibility of the internet, the traditional 9 to 5 workday is being replaced by flexible hours that can be completed anywhere and at any time. Making the choice to employ remote workers can enable your small business to grow successfully by allowing flexibility and enhancing productivity.

Increased productivity:
While it may sound counterintuitive, research has shown that remote workers are actually more productive than those who work in an office. Employees that working from home don’t have the distractions that occur in daily office life. They also have the ability to work longer hours at times that suit them, without being regimented to the typical 9 to 5 workday. This can lead to workers being more engaged with the work and can also increase happiness.

Reduce business costs:
Hiring remote workers can enable you to save money on office expenditure, such as real estate and utilities. You could even consider moving more of your business into cloud software, to allow the remote employees access to office files from home or wherever they may be working.

Hiring from a wider talent pool:
Finding the right person for the job can be easier than ever before with the increasingly growing virtual marketplace at your fingertips. Not only can you access people with better skills and experience, but will be able to employ them regardless of where they live.

Posted on 25 March '19 by , under people. No Comments.

Mental health support for small business

Running your own business can be extremely rewarding, but for many small business owners having the sole responsibility of a company’s success or failure can take its toll. With one in five people experiencing a mental health issue at some stage in their life, there is a greater need to have mental health support specifically within the workplace environment of small businesses.

A typical response to the pressures and demands of business and life is stress. Workplace stress can occur when the demands from running your business and the requirements of your role are greater than your capacity to manage them or the resources and support available to you. Contributing factors to work stress include:

  • Working long hours or overtime, working without a break or taking work home.
  • Doing shift work.
  • Time pressure, working too hard or with unrealistic targets.
  • High mental task demands, or work that requires high-level decision making.
  • Work that requires high emotional involvement.
  • Hostile or discriminatory work environment.

While stress isn’t the same as other mental health conditions, excessive or long-term stress can increase your risk of developing a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression. Managing mental health within your business by avoiding conditions that lead to excessive stress and encouraging awareness and support can have many positive outcomes and cultivate a mentally safe and healthy workplace.

Posted on 8 March '19 by , under people. No Comments.

Boosting employee relations

For a functioning company, employees have to be able to work together and communicate. Their relationships can be the difference between an ok team and a great one. People who enjoy their work are more productive and employee communications can be a contributing factor.

A good employer will help foster the working relationship of their team and ensure everything is running smoothly. By instigating co-operation between employees, you establish that a cohesive environment is not only encouraged but necessary for the functioning of the company.

Getting employees to work together on tasks can improve their working relationship as well as combine creativity and productivity to deliver a better product. Involving different team members in other tasks inspires collaboration and develops a relationship where they can rely on each other.

Open conversation:
A relationship can not grow without communication from both sides. As the employer, it is your responsibility to establish an environment where open communication is encouraged. If your employees can come and talk to you openly, then they should also feel like they can talk to each other as well.

Where it be minor events like the completion of a task or major ones like birthdays, celebrating can help higher morale and interaction between employees. Having a break where everyone can come together for a moment that isn’t work-related can also help to strengthen relationships as they get to interact in a work environment that is not directly related to work.

Posted on 20 February '19 by , under people. No Comments.

Professional phone and e-mail etiquette

Maintaining a professional voice when communicating in the workplace is crucial, especially when corresponding with superiors or new clients or colleagues. Use of e-mail and phone calls greatly enhance our communication reach and enable us to quickly respond to a task. Like in-person interaction, e-mail and phone conversations have social conventions to follow.

E-mailing has become a fast and effective way to communicate with others. Times to use e-mail over other forms of communication are:

  • When the material is not time sensitive
  • You need a record of your correspondence
  • You need to share files
  • There are multiple recipients

It is important to remember that e-mails are not private, anyone can access servers and view them. For this reason, you should not include confidential material in any e-mails you send. With this in mind, it is also relevant to remember not to overshare or overwrite information for timeliness and privacy reasons. An e-mail is not a letter, it does not need to be long or detailed with excessive punctuation and formatting, shorter sentences and straightforward language are best to effectively communicate your point.

Phone calls are the best way to contact a person when:

  • Information is confidential
  • The subject is time sensitive
  • The correspondence is formal

When on the phone for business reasons, keep your tone professional and polite, you can help this by staying focused on the call and not multi-tasking, this will help with concentration and clarity. Speaking clearly is a must as phone connections can sometimes be poor. For this reason, always double check information you have received to confirm all details are correct.

Posted on 7 February '19 by , under people. No Comments.

Improving Office Communication

Communication between co-workers is vital but the growing reliance on technology and social media threatens to distract further than office small talk. If you need to contact someone and you use social media messaging, you run the risk of them getting distracted by their phone in the process. Here are some suggestions you can follow to communicate with employees without distractions.

One way you can aid communication is by using specific messaging sites, such as Slack or Discord, to keep all your work chatter in the same place. This keeps distractions to a minimum and keeps the conversation productive. Having moments throughout the day, like morning meetings or a coffee break, for employees to socialise helps keep work periods focused. Communication is a two-way street, there is a give and take element in all forms of conversation. It is important to allow others not only the time to speak but to be heard, making sure it is known that their points are valid and considered. Remembering a particular exchange and revisiting aspects is a great way to show employees and co-workers that their input has been heard and acknowledged.

Posted on 24 January '19 by , under people. No Comments.

Conflict resolution tips for leaders

Workplace conflict is inevitable, which is why you must manage arguments between your staff to keep your office environment professional and productive.

Establish office rules of engagement
Your code of conduct and workplace policies should make your job easier as a manager. Clear expectations for how staff interact with one another is key to setting the tone for workplace discussions, especially when they get heated.

Encourage employees to resolve conflicts
As a manager, you will not have time to get involved in every argument that breaks out in the office. You should encourage your staff to practice their conflict resolution skills so that in the future they will be able to solve their problems with their colleagues.

Referee the conflict
If your employees cannot resolve their dispute, you may have to step in. If you see that the conflict is escalating, bring the employees into your office for a face to face chat. You may help resolve the conflict by forcing each employee to listen to the other side and encourage a collaborative solution.

Posted on 14 December '18 by , under people. No Comments.

Staff bonding tips

A tight-knit staff will work more effectively as a team and provide a positive impact on your workplace. Encourage your employees to bond with each other through a range of activities so you can reap the benefits of a friendly office.

Staff karaoke night
Take your Friday night staff drinks to the next level by booking a karaoke room. It might sound silly, but karaoke allows employees to let their professional guard down. This promotes a more personal relationship amongst staff that will benefit their teamwork.

Escape rooms
An after-work escape room can boost office teamwork and problem-solving skills. Escape rooms require a group of people to solve a series of riddles and puzzles to exit a room. Your staff can discover new talents, learn that it is ok to experiment and make mistakes in a consequence-free zone and bond with each other over a fun activity with a shared goal.

Sports activities
Whether it is a 5km fun run, a tough mudder course or a workplace basketball team, nothing brings a group of people together like sport. The key values of teamwork, cooperation and support evident in sport, will show themselves in the office in no time.

Posted on 29 November '18 by , under people. No Comments.

Promoting gender equality in the workplace

All of your staff must feel equally valued and treated fairly to keep your workers motivated, reduce staff turnover and avoid damage to your reputation as an employer.

Keep in mind the following strategies to make sure you are promoting gender equality in your workplace.

Put a policy in place
An equal opportunity policy that is transparent and accessible to current and potential employees will set clear expectations. Your policy will set the tone for other sectors of your business like recruitment, promotions and the leadership team. These guidelines are also a means of attracting female talent in your recruitment process.

Enforce equal pay for equal work
Inequality between workers based on their salary is a way to drive away talent and gain a bad name for yourself in the industry. Paying employees based on their past job may cause you to inadvertently enforce unequal pay between the sexes. Instead, consider setting a pay range for each position and adjust it on experience and an individual’s circumstances.

Provide equal access to opportunities
Your candidates for promotion and members of your leadership team should show a fairly even split across genders. The most deserving person for the job should be picked but consider a decision-making panel that comprises both sexes to eliminate unconscious biases.

Posted on 19 November '18 by , under people. No Comments.

Dealing with a grieving employee

Grief is an inevitable part of life, and it is something you will encounter in your workplace. There are several strategies you can use to assist your employee when they are dealing with a loss in their life, which will benefit them and make sure your business stays on the right track.

Have a one-on-one
Calling your employee in for a chat will allow you to express your condolences and show your empathy in a private, safe space. You should inquire and listen to how your staff-member is doing, and you may ask what support they may need and what might be the best plan moving forward. This conversation will also give you a chance to assess how affected they have been by the loss and recommend any counselling services that your workplace might offer.

Offer time off
Your employee may need a break to get their affairs together, arrange funerals and process their emotions. Taking this step in advance will allow you to plan for their replacement rather than it being sprung on your later on if your team member is not coping.

Adjust their workload
For a period your employee may want to avoid speaking to customers and clients if they feel keeping composed will place too high of a strain on them. Relax their workload if you can and invite employees to take on extra to assist your team member in their time of need. Express the importance of teamwork when you explain this plan to staff to avoid resentment or any miscommunication about staff expectations.

Posted on 30 October '18 by , under people. No Comments.